SF : Fram reports: Nour El Sherbini 3-2 Olivia Weaver

[1] Nour El Sherbini (Egy) 3-2 [8] Olivia Weaver (Usa)    7-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-5, 11-5 (71m)

El Sherbini, 28, has won the previous five World Championship titles in a row and has now recorded 35 straight victories at the sport’s biggest tournament

Tonight, I had three fathers sitting next to me during the semis. First Mr Sherbini, then Mr Farag, then Mr Gohar. It was quite interesting to see the different attitudes/behaviour of those poor individuals, going through the mill courtesy of their children…

Atef Sherbini, one of the sweetest men alive, started the match in a relaxed position, to quickly sit on the edge of the seat, as the two other fathers…

And no wonder. Dressed in a stunning blue dress, Olivia was the boss in the opener. If Nour’s shots were lacking a bit of weight, it was probably due to her opponent impressive accuracy in the back corners and her relentless volleying, taking the time away from the ball for Nour.

The American was ahead for the whole first game, first a couple of points, then fro 6/6 to 10/6, clinching the game with a stroke, 11/7. 8 winners for Olivia, only 6 for Nour. 13m game.

Immediate response from Nour, Warrior’s way, 2/0, 4/1, 9/3, 11/5, in 12m, 9winners Nour, 2 only for Olivia.

The third I think it’s the most incredible for Olivia, who managed to put the doubt in Nour’s head, and forced 6 errors out of her racquet. That my friends doesn’t happen a lot. Add to that a conceded stroke, and that’s 7 points given away, a quick game, only 10m, 5/2, 5/5, 7/5, 11/6, again Olivia ahead throughout.

The fourth is the crucial one. Even if Nour was up in that one, 5/1, courtesy of Olivia’s errors, the Nour’s camp was extremely nervous. They could see the worried face of their champion, their “COME ON” were getting louder and louder, more frequent. And they got truly worried when Olivia closed up to 4/5.

But the American seemed to stop doing what she was doing, which placed her in that incredible position of shaking the Princess. She became a bit too passive, and Nour was able to string the points away. 11/5 in 12m.

And not a single error for Nour in that 4th. Compared with the previous one, you can see that Olivia had let go of Nour’s throat…

The errors kept coming in the 5th for the American, 5/0 to Nour, but again, a good response from Olivia, whose determination and fitness is showing more and more, came back once again close enough to get a few loud Allez Nour Allez, and Yalla Nour (Greg and Dad), 4/6.

But Nour was now far less under pressure from the Americans and was able to find her usual sudden-death shots. It’s 11/5 but in 15m of extremely hard work from both…

Great sportmanship, splendid match, suspense, respectful crowd. Loved it.

Olivia :
I nearly had it, I really felt I had her. I think it changed in the middle of the fourth. We were neck and neck, and when she pulled away, I got a bit passive, I stopped doing what I was doing in the first three games, I made some silly errors, I guess a little lack of experience.

And as the match went on, it sort of fell off. My quality of hitting dropped, and that was what was doing damage in the first three.

It’s annoying to realise that what I was doing in those three games, it can really do damage to Nour, and that’s the first time I put that much pressure on her.

I’m obviously gutted, I didn’t come her to lose in the semis, I came to win the event, I don’t work that hard, and make that many sacrifices to come here and lose to anyone. It’s definitely my best result against her, I didn’t give up until the very end but I know this is going to make me hungrier to get back to work, and win the next one.

Rodney Martin – coach to Olivia :
It was very close. I mean, Olivia hasn’t been in that situation before, she has learned a lot about this week, about how to get ready for matches, what she’s got to do and focus on to beat the top girls.
And I think that now, over the last tournaments, she’s got the belief that she can do it.

Tonight, she had an opportunity to win, but you have to put yourself in that position and take it. Nour came through in the end because she’s got experience about how to slow the game down a bit, played a bit more passive, and Olivia didn’t take on the game at that point, especially in the last two games, she didn’t do enough to tyry and change that. She got stuck up behind the wall too much.
It is what it is, she will be proud of what she’s done this week, she knows she had a chance of beating Nour tonight, didn’t get over the line but you know, hopefully, next time she’ll do it.

Nour : 
“Definitely not an easy match! I couldn’t lose in front of this amazing crowd with every point they were cheering me and hyping me up. After being 2-1 down I said there’s no way I can leave this court without losing. I just want to keep going and I’m really happy I’m through.

“Olivia played amazing but I felt as though I wasn’t finding my targets and I wasn’t consistent as well. It wasn’t my best but all respect to her, she played one of her best matches and this is going to make me focus more on what’s coming and get me ready for the next meeting against her. For her to get to the World No.4 is amazing, but I’m happy to be through.

“It’s was very bouncy on court and Olivia is one of the fittest players on court so it’s very hard to win a point against her and that made it difficult at the beginning. It wasn’t the best from me, but I kept going and pushing until the end and the main is I won. I will be prepared better for tomorrow.”